A culture emerging as a result of Soviet-Afghan war marked by easy availability automatic fire arms and settlement of disputes with guns and blood shed. Many of American arms sent for Afghanistan ended up in Pakistani black markets from where anybody could buy them. Assault rifle Kalashnikov (also known as AK-47) has been the most popular automatic weapon until recently and has become the name sake of this culture.
I read another definition in a history book about the weapon a few years ago, based on its use in Africa.
AK47: The Story of the People's Gun by Michael Hodges
When 30% of the population of a nation is known to have easy access to Kalashnikov assault rifles another 30% will quickly acquire them to protect themselves against the first 30%. When 60% of the population has access to Kalashnikov's carrying them in public becomes almost routine. The domestic police force have then effectively lost any authority and ability to enforce the law.
I'm reminded of this with every new argument coming from the American Gun lobby.
Pre-Reagan/Bush their argument for gun ownership was that it was a constitutional right of every U.S. citizen. That was then. They are able to use a whole new argument now.
After years of pushing back U.S. gun restrictions to a level below that of the wild west, where the AR-15 (which sure looks like a assault rifle to me) is considered a household fashion statement, the newly evolved argument is that assault weapons are now required for domestic use to protect citizens against other citizens that have already armed themselves in this manner.
In effect the NRA is saying "now you have to listen to us and buy yourself a gun, to protect yourself from the weapons we have been flooding the country with for years".
If Obama is looking at a way to change minds he might suggest paid holidays to Somalia for NRA members, though I suspect it would probably turn into 21st hunting trips